Problems with the funding of the Russian-Iranian project for the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran appeared at the end of the past year. Spokesmen for the nuclear agencies of the two countries conducted negotiations in December of 2006 in Tehran. The talks ended with an official announcement for world media, in which it was said that the works on the construction of the Bushehr power plant would be continued according to previously scheduled terms. Sergei Shmatko, who represented Russia’s side at the talks, said that the two sides were satisfied with their agreements.
It has recently transpired, though, that Iran has not been making any wire transfers to Russia for a month already. A source from the Russian Currency Control confirmed the information. The problem was caused with currency confusion. The payment schedule was interrupted when Iran barred US dollar payments and converted financial transactions to euros.
Russia was deeply concerned with the decision of its Iranian partners. “Is it a project at all when there are no payments as stipulated by the signed contract?” the Director of the Union of Energy Efficiency of Russia, Semyon Dragulsky said. “Iran causes a considerable financial damage to the contracted Russian companies and itself. Iran should clear the debt immediately and regulate all financial issues for the future,” the official added.
Iranian officials also expressed their bewilderment in connection with the nuclear scandal. Mohammad Saidi, deputy director of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency, stated that Iran had made all necessary payments according to the schedule. “There is no hold-up with the funding on the part of Iran,” the official said. Saidi added that the nuclear power plant in Bushehr would be launched in September 2007, as previously agreed. To crown it all, Iranian officials believe that Russia is trying to slow the construction of the nuclear plant.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov